This enigmatic image is my favorite from an event I helped photograph this weekend. A performance artist at a Bar Mitzvah party had this incredible act with a massive balloon which he’d manipulate, and dance with, and dance into, and dance out of. You really need to see a video clip of it. One of the many images I took during this sequence was this one where he moved right into the guests who were watching him.
The lighting on him was from the videographer who was kneeling next to me. Since his act was so unique, and so fast-paced .. and the lighting changing, I wanted to make sure I covered all bases. I therefore shot alternate frames as fast as I could .. with flash, and without flash. This way I can always pick out afterward what works best. I really like having both options to choose from in situations like this. I want some photographs with flash to make sure I have well-lit images … but also some without flash, just in case the flash completely destroyed the mood and look of the photographs.
The way that I easily disable the flash with a button push, is by setting custom function F6 on the Nikon D3 body to disable flash output. It is the same for the D700, and if memory serves me, it is similar for the D300. With F6 set to disable flash with the push of the button with my thumb, it is very simple to take images with and without flash.
This is how I do the comparative images on this website, where I show what the ambient light looked like, and how an image looks with flash added. Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this on Canon D-SLRs.
In post-processing the image, I had to bump up the Exposure in raw processing by 1 stop. To saturate the colors like that, I went in to Lab mode and made a few adjustments. (More about that in follow-up posts on how to make your images pop in Photoshop.)
Here is what it looked like with bounce flash ..
This works too. In shooting alternate images with and without flash, I was making sure that I had something that worked.
Another image with just the available light, which is the DJ’s lighting from behind.
Back to the post-processing, here is the image with my default settings in ACR (but with exposure bumped up by a stop.)
… and how the image looks (as posted at the top), by manipulating it a little bit in Lab mode.
This is something I’ll cover more specifically in follow-up posts.
The results? An image that looks mysterious … and ‘pops’ even more than the original.
All images with the Nikon D3, and the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S
Camera settings for the main image at the top: 1/100 @ f3.2 @ 2000 ISO
Camera settings for the other two images: 1/80 @ f2.8 @ 2000 ISO